Two residential special schools in North Devon are involved in an investigation by the national child sex abuse inquiry.

The former Chelfham Mill School, near Barnstaple, and Marland School, near Torrington, are on a list of 10 institutions named by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Evidence relating to the establishments will be considered in the first phase of an investigation into residential schools, which is due to start public hearings next year.

Privately-run Chelfham Mill School for boys with emotional and behavioural problems was closed in 2015 after allegations of physical abuse led to a police investigation.

After a two-year inquiry, groundsman Peter Weyman was convicted of indecency against a boy at the school in the 1990s, and offences against another boy before he moved to Devon.

Weyman, then aged 67, of Cleveland Close, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, was jailed for 17 years at Exeter Crown Court in February after admitting 11 offences.

At the time of its closure, the school had 41 boys aged seven to 18, most living at the school.

Most of the pupils who were sent to the school had a statement of special educational needs and were funded by local authorities from around the South West.

Marland School, with a residential school at Peters Marland, near Torrington, is for children with social, emotional and mental health needs.

A case of historic sexual abuse in the 1980s came to light with the conviction last year of former employee Steven Joyce, of Erme Drive, Ivybridge, for a series of offences.

In September the sentence for the former house parent at the residential school, then aged 66, was doubled to 14 years and four months at the Court of Appeal.  

Joyce had faced earlier investigations in 1991 and 2011.

Marland School is now structured with day schools at Bideford and Barnstaple and a residential school at Peters Marland for up to 40 boys from across Devon.

The school was rated good in all aspects at its last Ofsted inspection in November 2016. It is now one of 10 special schools in the Devon-wide SENtient Co-operative Foundation Trust and is overseen by Devon County Council.

A spokesman for Devon County Council said: “We have already confirmed that we are co-operating with the inquiry. 
“The school has also been co-operating with Devon and Cornwall Police on these historic allegations.”